Seniors adapt to an online college interview process


Diliff, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Due to COVID-19, colleges have had to transfer to virtual interviews.

Caleb Jenkins, Copy Editor

They have to shine through a screen.

As seniors near the end of their stay at MSMS, they are also nearing the end of their college applications process, meaning many of them will be interviewing with colleges all around the country. The typical college interview process has been greatly altered by the current pandemic, though, and seniors have had to change the expectations they had set as to what their college interviews would look like. 

The interview, though not required by every college, can be helpful in increasing an applicant’s odds of acceptance, as it allows the student to demonstrate their determination and character. This means students must come prepared to answer any question the interviewer might throw at them.

“I did some practice interviews with Mrs. Bates and Dr. Easterling,” said senior Gracie Rowland. Rowland emphasized the importance of coming prepared to interviews and anticipating the types of questions that will be asked. “Practice, practice, practice. If you don’t have a story to tell, an anecdote to pull up, or a practice answer to strengths and weaknesses, you’re going to be put on spot without an answer.”

In a normal year, college interviewers would meet with applicants at an agreed upon location, such as a coffee shop or library. However, given the current circumstances, interviews have moved online this year. This change has brought both advantages and disadvantages to the seniors undergoing the interview process.

On one hand, it is incredibly convenient to have the opportunity to interview for a college from the comfort of one’s own home. For students who are applying to one or more out-of-state colleges, virtual interviews might have been a blessing in disguise. 

“I think [online interviewing] probably made it easier to schedule interviews, as most of my interviewers live a few hours from me,” said senior Jackson Flowers. Flowers did express his misgivings about the limitations of online interviews, though, stating that the virtual interview “made it a bit harder to treat it like a conversation since it was over Zoom.”

Senior, Zach Medlin echoed these sentiments. 

When interviews are conducted over Zoom, the nuances of in-person communication are lost. Without being in the same place and breathing the same air as the interviewee, the interviewer cannot get as full of a picture of their life or personality,” said Medlin. 

The college interview process has no doubt been changed by the pandemic, but their importance in college applications remains the same. As seniors prepare to decide on which college is best for them, their interviews will be an important factor in their decision, as well as for the interviewers.

Senior Blake Cheater reflected on the interview process and how it feels to sit down with an interviewer and tell his story.

It was always really nerve-racking in the moments leading up to the interviews,” said Cheater. “But after they started, it always felt pretty conversational and easy.”